The foundation of all personal injury claims is negligence. The Legal Information Institute of Cornell University Law School defines negligence as, “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” If a person acts in a manner that a reasonable person would consider to be irresponsible, then, he or she has acted negligently.
While negligence is often associated with a violation of a law or statute (known as negligence per se), a person can act negligently without actually violating a statute. For example, a highway speed limit may enforce a rule for drivers to not travel more than 65 miles per hour. On a very rainy day, however, a reasonable person may believe that not traveling over 45 miles per hour is most safe. If a person were to travel at 65, then, he or she may have been committing an act of negligence.
Negligence is extremely important in personal injury cases in Arizona. In fact, most of the time, an at fault party cannot be held liable for a plaintiff’s damages unless negligence can be proven.
The following provides some common examples of negligence that are often present in personal injury claims in Phoenix:
- Failing to repair a broken handrail on a property;
- Allowing a dog that has a history of attacks or violence to run at large;
- Prescribing a patient the wrong medication;
- Driving after having alcohol;
- Manufacturing a crib that is prone to collapsing; and
- Violently assaulting another person.
The types of negligent acts that may occur are very diverse; an attorney can help you to understand whether negligence is present in your case, and if so, how it relates to liability. An attorney can also guide you through the steps of proving negligence, which can be complicated. Proving negligence requires the collection and assembly of evidence, as well as a demonstration of the evidence that shows that negligence not only occurred, but that injuries would not have been incurred but for negligent actions.